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University of Minnesota professors and alumnus win international award for groundbreaking recommender systems research

Three University of Minnesota computer science and engineering professors and a University of Minnesota alumnus will receive the 2016 Seoul Test of Time Award at the World Wide Web Conference in Montreal next month for their groundbreaking research on recommender systems. The award recognizes research that has shown to be particularly influential over many years.

Professors George Karypis, Joseph Konstan, John Riedl (posthumous), and former University of Minnesota Ph.D. student Badrul Sarwar, a 2001 Ph.D. graduate and current LinkedIn scientist, will receive the prestigious award for their paper entitled “Item-based collaborative filtering recommendation algorithms,” which was presented at the International World Wide Web Conference in 2001. The research is now regarded as the pioneering scholarly reference for recommender systems.

Recommender systems are a type of information filtering that seeks to predict customers’ preferences. Many companies, such as Amazon and Netflix, use recommender systems to suggest other movies, books, and products to their customers based on previous purchases and preferences. These recommender systems are built using the item-based collaborative filtering algorithms highlighted in the 2001 University of Minnesota research paper.

“This outstanding paper has had a considerable real-world impact,” said Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Chair of the International World Wide Web Conference Committee. “Many collaborative filtering systems now use this approach, including systems from Amazon.”

Over the last 15 years, the research paper has had more than 5,150 citations in Google Scholar, and the rate of citation has increased five-fold over the last 10 years. Read the paper.

The Seoul Test of Time Award will be presented during the WWW Conference on Wednesday, April 13.

Last year’s award was given to Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, for their world-changing paper “The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine,” presented in 1998. 

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